katoomba, Kristin Hersh, and an aftermath snap.

Mostly Nice Stuff: some BAD poo talk soz. 


i had a wonderful saturday and sunday in Katoomba – we went to see Kristin Hersh at a small theatre and our seats were directly in front of the stage. 

Kristin Hersh’s books and music are really important to me. Lachlan introduced me to her, years ago, and it didn’t take at first.  but then, i fell in love with ‘Winter’, off Learn to Sing like a Star.  then, i discovered the rest of the album, after seeing a quote in a teen novel i was studying for my thesis – ‘Girl Walking Backwards’ – which to this day remains one of my all-time favourite female queer relationship books.  her music went with me through a lot of things – through the mania of my early/mid twenties, to the middle of a winter in canberra where i felt completely alone, and wandering around the streets of Tucson, totally lost, and alone, and confused, and there for all the wrong, and of course, right, reasons. i read ‘Rat Girl’ in a hotel room, in incredible heat. i refused to put on the air conditioning for a whole day, wanting to feel it, authentically. i then realised this was idiotic. i turned on the air conditioning.  i walked down the street from my hotel (Elvis apparently stayed there!?) and listened to Learn to Sing like a Star – the opening song resonating with each footstep, making me stronger and braver in the heat.

seeing her live was amazing. her voice roars like a lion and she moves as though the music rises out of her.  she is tiny – about my size – and i always thought she was tall, as tall as her voice.  i met her at the end and she signed a copy of the new Throwing Muses album, which is a book – and i told her we’d had twitter conversations. she said to keep talking to her. it made me happy.

then, we went to Jenolan caves on Sunday. i like caves. they scare me, and very few things do. we did a cave walk: i kept freaking out that i was exhausted because CANCER, but it’s more likely that i was just tired, and it was a pretty intensive walk.  but it was beautiful.

i had started my prep for the colonoscopy on sunday. white food only. this does, obviously, include potato chips. i ate a lot of potato chips.  and then, later in the evening, everything unravelled. it became suddenly overwhelming, and too much, and i am afraid to die, and i am afraid of everything that is about to happen.  i am terrified. people talk about me BEING BRAVE. and i don’t know what bravery is. is it a late night anxiety attack that only sedatives can deaden? (thank god for Valium)? is it waking up in tears? is it shaking each time i have another revolting thing happen today? it’s the second day of prep – liquids only, and a stack of gross ‘prep’ fluid, to trigger every single thing to depart your bowel.  the results are not pretty, and my results are really, really, really not pretty and are indicating something very, very wrong. my doctor has said to go to the ER if i become dizzy, lightheaded, anything like that.  i am shaking from it – from fear, and the unknown, and the fact that this probably confirms bowel cancer, and that this is scary.  is my whole bowel ‘infected’? do i need it ALL taken out? will i have the colonoscopy and end up rushed off for surgery without even an idea of what is happening? i have no idea how this works, and there’s no one to ask, because no one actually knows yet. this is bitterly difficult.  and i am not being brave. i don’t want to finish the prep. i don’t want to do anything. all i want, right now, is to not fucking have cancer. 


About elizabeth

various things.
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8 Responses to katoomba, Kristin Hersh, and an aftermath snap.

  1. Cordelia says:

    Sweetheart, all I can offer is hugs from afar. It sucks to be where you are. I wish you weren’t there.

    • veritas says:

      hugs from afar are really really valuable. i am feeling slightly better; the terror of the first bit of the prep has passed, and seems less bad now.

  2. Um.. I’m very close to someone with a colostomy… Please, let me know if you want to talk to her. She’d rather not have it, but considering the alternative (death), it’s much better. She’s clean, and she can socialise without fear. If it’s covered, people don’t know about it. And there is a lot of support for colostomy patients, if they want it.

    Yes, I was talking to her while writing this response. Oh, and the whole “be brave” thing? I walked away from people, spoke to lecturers while in tears, etc. I think most people think you’re being brave if, when they see you, you’re not in tears.

    And the hardest thing? To ask for help. Hell, I still find it hard to ask for help! My colostomy associate is now so good at asking for help, she asks strangers in the car park for help in getting her scooter into the car!

    • veritas says:

      yeah, that’s probably it. i think i just got spooked today – the colonoscopy prep has been more intense than i thought it would be (surprising bad moments) but it’s calmed down a bit now so i’m not so terrified. and i’ve spoken to my GP as well who comforted me and said it was ok to take it slower than the instructions.

      i think a little further down the track i would like to have a chat – i think i need to know more about what i’ll be facing. Stomas frighten me a lot, but being alive is pretty good and i’d defs take it over the alternative. i’m still hoping it won’t be the case – nothing indicates the bowel cancer is that bad, just yet. urgh.

      thank you – it is super hard to ask for help and i’m not even sure where to start, or even what i need.

  3. Being brave?
    Being brave isn’t lacking fear.
    Being brave is putting the next foot forward even when you are … erm … shitting yourself.
    I think you are brave.

    Being brave is being able to admit you are scared.
    I love that you feel you can share that – and everything else – here.
    I think you are brave.

    And I love that there are so many people responding here in whatever ways they feel they can help, and you can take it or leave as you require.
    A xoxo

    • veritas says:

      brave is a funny word. i never knew what i thought i meant, and now i look at it, i realise it is moving in the face of fear, or even moving when you don’t want to – where every single part of you says ‘this is too hard’. and then you ignore it, or you just try and pretend it’s not there, and you do it anyway.

      i can’t even say how much this blog is helping me right now. thanks so much for your response. xx

  4. greenspace01 says:

    reactions as I’m reading:
    how wonderful! (I don’t know Kristin Hersh’s music but your writing gives me the conviction that she is awesome)
    Tucson, Arizona is a real place? (I know it is, it’s just one of those places that seems both marvellously magical and mythical, and currently full of dangerous extremists)
    oh how awful 😦 how unfair, to have gut-wrenching terror while the contents of your bowels are pouring out of you 😦
    you are definitely brave – you chose to go to Jenolan Caves even though caves scare you. also, wasn’t it sodding freezing there?
    I wish I actually knew anything that was helpful to you. the only things I know are secondhand, from my aunt’s colo-rectal surgery: after surgery, you have a naso-gastric tube up your nose and down your throat to drain out stuff from your stomach which would normally go through your GIT, which is icky, and not great if you have sinus issues. and your first post-surgery fart will be celebrated by everyone as a sign of effective healing.

    • veritas says:

      my mum has actually had about 6 colo-rectal surgeries – i grew up around what bowel prep is, and colonoscopy days, and emergency trips to hospital for obstructions. mum once had a nasal-gastric tube in due to an obstruction – the black bile was clogging up and she was vomiting it. GI issues are inevitably revolting.

      there are so many different scenarios right now – not sure what state i’m in or what path they’ll take – if the tumours are small enough for keyhole removal or fill my whole bowel. it’s all a terrifying unknown.

      and cave-wise. it’s Really cold in canberra – it was pretty much the same there as at home!

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